Ireland’s Paul O’Connell set for fitness test ahead of summer tour

Paul O'Connell will have a fitness test on Friday to assess the lock's knee ahead of Ireland's summer tour to New Zealand

paul o'connell
Paul O'Connell could miss tour to New Zealand with a knee injury Photo: e_mulvey, via Flickr

paul o'connell

Ireland head coach Declan kidney is sweating on the fitness of lock Paul O’Connell and has given his 2012 Six Nations captain until Friday to prove his knee is ready for the rigours of a summer tour.

All other seats on the plane to New Zealand have been finalised with Kidney adding five new faces to his original touring party.

Ireland fell 29-28 to the Barbarians on Tuesday night but Kidney saw enough in the form and fitness of forwards Chris Henry and Brett Wilkinson to include them in the party.

While the former Munster coach has also picked Connacht’s Mike McCarthy, as cover for O’Connell, Ulster scrum-half Paul Marshall in place of the injured Isaac Boss and prop Ronan Loughney, as a potential stand-in for Leinster’s Mike Ross.

Despite losing in Gloucester, Ireland’s young wing pair Simon Zebo, 22, and Craig Gilroy, 21, showed their worth to the side with three tries between them.

Full-back Keith Earls grabbed the other while fly-half Ronan O’Gara converted all four efforts.

Uncharacteristically for a Barbarians match, the result was determined by a penalty kick from Barbarians fly-half Felipe Contepomi two minutes from time.

The invitational side set to rights their 57-26 loss to England on Sunday with tries from Iain Balshaw, Cornelius Van Zyl, Paul Sackey, Mike Tindall and Contepomi’s four goal kicks.

Ireland’s tour of New Zealand sees them play Test matches in Auckland on June 9, in Christchurch on June 16 and in Hamilton on June 23.

© Sportsbeat 2012

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